Making a splash in Campbell River fulfills a promise

Ground was broken on the much-anticipated water park Tuesday afternoon

Glen Clark, past president of the Daybreak Rotary Club, promised his daughter nearly three years ago that there would be a splash park at the Sportsplex by the time she was 11.

Clark’s daughter is now that very age and he’s about to make good on his promise.

Ground was broken on the much-anticipated water park Tuesday afternoon with Rotary members, city council, the mayor, firefighters, and local children on hand to mark the happy occasion.

A jubilant Patricia Gagnon, past president of the Noon Hour Rotary Club, said the milestone has been long in the making.

“I’m so excited,” Gagnon said. “It’s so good to be able to have it done finally; it’s been a long time waiting.”

Surveyors were working on the area during the ground breaking and construction is expected to begin shortly, lasting roughly 12 weeks. Gagnon said a September opening hasn’t been ruled out, weather permitting.

Clark, who’s daughter reminded him on the car ride over to the ground breaking of his promise, said “it’s about time” things got moving on the splash park.

As the sun beat down, Clark stood on the spot of the future home of the splash park.

“The kids, on a day like today, they’d be here,” he said.

The splash park will have a fire hydrant, hose element, and a mega soaker – the first of its kind in B.C.

The mega soaker – a bowl full of water that fills and spills – will be a killer whale, a tribute to Campbell River’s marine heritage. The rest of the park will also reflect that theme, with a whale body and tail and a fishing pole with a salmon attached. The park will be free to access and divided into three sections – one for families, one for teens and one aimed at toddlers.

The splash park is a joint project between the Noon Hour and Daybreak Rotary Clubs, the Campbell River Professional Firefighters Association, Telus, and the city.

Tyler Saxby, representing the firefighters association, said the idea for the splash park had been floating around for years and it was matter of getting all the groups together.

“It was quite an undertaking and there were a lot of hoops to go through,” Saxby said. “It’s been a long, long, wait. Just being around other families, they’re always asking about the splash park and waiting. A lot of families are going to come. It’s going to big.”

Saxby figures the park will be a huge draw for families. He said a hotel near Disneyland attracts families because of its mega soaker, which Campbell River will be the only B.C. community to have. Gagnon said “it just goes to show what happens when a bunch of community-minded groups come together.”

Both Rotary Clubs combined to fund $160,000 of the project while the firefighters association put up $20,000. The city’s parks parcel tax will cover $75,000 of the project costs and Telus is providing $123,200. The city will also fund annual operating costs of $30,000.

Telus’ donation came from its TV for Good Campaign, in which $100 was donated on behalf of each community member who became an Optik TV customer in the last year.

“It’s going to look amazing,” said Telus Senior Community Investment Manager Gina Pecorelli, of the splash park. “We need to thank the customers who signed up. All of (the donation) was raised through local people. Thank you to the community for supporting the program.”

The splash park was first brought to city council two years ago and received approval in principle in 2010. It was given final approval by council in November of 2011.

The contractor for the project, Rec Tec, was selected by Rotary and is working in cooperation with the city to build the splash park.